#astronomy This Week’s Sky at a Look, August 30 – September 7

August 31, 2019 - Comment

The waxing Moon will step eastward previous Jupiter and Saturn, over Scorpius and Sagittarius. (The blue 10° scale is in regards to the dimension of your fist at arm’s size.) Friday, Aug. 30 • The Milky Approach extends upward from the low south-southwest simply after darkish. Earlier than the Moon turns into vibrant later this

Moon, Jupiter, Saturn at dusk, Sept. 4-8, 2019

The waxing Moon will step eastward previous Jupiter and Saturn, over Scorpius and Sagittarius. (The blue 10° scale is in regards to the dimension of your fist at arm’s size.)

Friday, Aug. 30

• The Milky Approach extends upward from the low south-southwest simply after darkish. Earlier than the Moon turns into vibrant later this week, that is your final good likelihood this yr to lastly get straight which clumps are the Giant Sagittarius Star Cloud (with M8 above it), the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud (a.ok.a. M24), the lesser-known Gamma Scuti Star Cloud, and the Scutum Star Cloud on prime. In a darkish sky they stand out nearly ladder-like. See the labeled photograph with Fred Schaaf’s “Musings on Eternity” within the September Sky & Telescope, web page 45.

• New Moon (actual at 6:37 a.m. on this date EDT.)

Saturday, Aug. 31

• Altair is the brightest star on the southern facet of the sky after darkish. (We’re not counting the planets Jupiter and Saturn, far to its decrease proper.) Spot Altair’s little orange companion Tarazed to its higher proper by only a finger width at arm’s size.

Look to Altair’s higher left, by a bit greater than a fist, for little Delphinus, the Dolphin.

Nearer above Altair is even smaller, fainter Sagitta, the Arrow.

Sunday, Sept. 1

• By 9 or 10 p.m. two of essentially the most well-known deep-sky objects, the Double Cluster in Perseus and the Nice Andromeda Galaxy M31, are in excessive view within the east. Do you know they’re solely 22° aside? They’re each cataloged as 4th magnitude however to the bare eye they give the impression of being quite completely different, the extra so the darker your sky. See for your self; they’re plotted on the all-sky constellation map within the middle of the September Sky & Telescope, which must be all of the map you must determine their places. Sky too vibrant? Use binoculars!

The 2 clusters of the Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884) are at very related distances about 7,600 light-years away. M31, at 2.5 million light-years, is about 330 instances farther out.

Monday, Sept. 2

• At any time when vibrant Vega crosses nearest your zenith, because it does at dusk now, you already know that the Sagittarius Teapot have to be at its highest due south even when it is hidden by buildings or timber (or twilight). The Teapot is presently beneath Saturn.

Two hours later when Deneb crosses closest to the zenith, it is the flip of Delphinus and boat-shaped Capricornus down under to face at their highest within the south.

Tuesday, Sept. three

• Even with a modest telescope beneath a mediocre sky, do you know you possibly can see the black-hole microquasar Cygnus X-1 — or quite the Ninth-magnitude star feeding it? It is zero.four° east of 4th-magnitude Eta Cygni excessive overhead. For a finder chart, you should use the photograph that leads Dave Tosteson’s “Microquasars” within the September Sky & Telescope, web page 57. Celestial north there may be up and east is to the left.

Wednesday, Sept. four

• The Moon at nightfall hangs left of Jupiter, Antares, and the top of Scorpius, as proven on the prime of this web page.

• A winter preview: Step out earlier than the primary mild of daybreak this week, and the sky shows the starry panorama it’ll after dinnertime in late January and early February. Orion strides up within the southeast, with Aldebaran after which the Pleiades excessive above it. Sirius sparkles far under Orion. The Gemini twins are mendacity on their sides nicely up within the east.

Thursday, Sept. 5

• First-quarter Moon (actual at 11:10 p.m. EDT). It poses in an attention-grabbing setting. As the celebrities come out, you may discover Jupiter shining a couple of levels to the Moon’s left (for North America) and dimmer orange Antares twinkling farther under it. See the highest of this web page.

Friday, Sept. 6

• The 2 brightest stars (not planets) of September evenings are Vega excessive overhead and Arcturus within the west, each magnitude zero.

Draw a line from Vega right down to Arcturus. A 3rd of the best way down you cross the dim Keystone of Hercules.

Two thirds of the best way down you cross the dim semicircle of Corona Borealis with its one modestly vibrant star: Alphecca, the gem of the crown.

Properly to the suitable of Arcturus, within the northwest, the Huge Dipper is popping increasingly more stage.

Saturday, Sept. 7

• Look left of the gibbous Moon at nightfall for Saturn, as proven on the prime of this web page. Beneath the Moon, are you able to piece out the Sagittarius Teapot?


Wish to change into a greater astronomer? Study your approach across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every thing fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature passion. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the middle of every situation of Sky & Telescope, the important information to astronomy.

Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and tons of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the night time. Pattern chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you may want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The fundamental customary is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Version), which exhibits stars to magnitude 7.6.

Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.zero, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; practically 3 times as many. The following up, as soon as you already know your approach round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria 2000.zero (stars to magnitude 9.75). And skim the best way to use sky charts with a telescope.

You will additionally need a good deep-sky guidebook, akin to Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas 2000.zero Companion by Robust and Sinnott, or the larger Night time Sky Observer’s Information by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope exchange charts? Not for newbies, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which can be lower than top-quality mechanically (that means heavy and costly). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Yard Astronomer’s Information, “A full appreciation of the universe can not come with out growing the abilities to search out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This information comes solely by spending time beneath the celebrities with star maps in hand.”

This Week’s Planet Roundup

Illustrates impact flashes

On August seventh, newbie imager Ethan Chappel was videorecording Jupiter when a tiny vibrant flare appeared on it for a couple of second — very like the six earlier meteor impacts in Jupiter’s environment detected this manner. See Texas Beginner Detects Doable Affect on Jupiter.

Mercury, Venus, and Mars are out of sight behind the glare of the Solar.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.2, between the ft of Ophiuchus) is the white dot hanging within the south-southwest as twilight fades away. Get your scope on it early earlier than it sinks decrease into poorer seeing. Orange Antares, a lot fainter at magnitude +1.zero, twinkles 7° to Jupiter’s decrease proper. In a telescope, Jupiter is just 39 arcseconds extensive and shrinking.

Saturn on August 23rd, imaged by Damian Peach with the 1-meter Chilescope. South is up. “Poor to truthful seeing allowed an affordable end result,” he writes. That is being modest. With a scope that giant at a latitude the place Saturn is excessive overhead, the North Polar Hexagon and its central darkish spot present right here clear as day.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.three, in Sagittarius) is the regular, pale yellowish “star” within the south-southeast throughout and after nightfall, 30° left or higher left of Jupiter. Beneath Saturn is the deal with of the Sagittarius Teapot.

Uranus (magnitude 5.7, in Aries) is nicely up within the east by midnight and highest within the south earlier than the start of daybreak.

Neptune (magnitude 7.eight, very shut of 4th-magnitude Phi Aquarii this week) is nicely up within the southeast by 10 or 11 p.m. and highest within the south by 1 or 2 a.m. Neptune is sort of at opposition. Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune.


All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally rely on longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Jap Daylight Time (EDT) is Common Time (UT, UTC, GMT, or Z time) minus four hours.


Audio sky tour. Out beneath the night sky along with your earbuds in place, take heed to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


“The hazards of not pondering clearly are a lot better now than ever earlier than. It is not that there is one thing new in our mind-set, it is that credulous and confused pondering may be rather more deadly in methods it was by no means earlier than.”
— Carl Sagan, 1996

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